Consumer fear of GMOs and political overreaction adversely impacts smallholder farms

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Image: The Penny Hoarder

Three letters can quickly turn lackadaisical shoppers at a farmers market, diners at a restaurant or families at dinner tables quite sour: GMO.

When challenged to expand this acronym into its full form, vehement oppositionists to this technology are often found fumbling for the words “genetically modified organism.” What is it about this technological innovation specifically that has incited such a crazed frenzy?

Many arguments for the fervent opposition to genetic modification, or GM, technology exist, but few of these arguments consider how this innovation could actually service marginalized groups, namely the smallholder farmer. Smallholder farms are defined as having access to less than 10 hectares of land, with a minimum share of labor coming from the property-holding family.

Related article:  Uganda's agriculture minister wants churches to help promote genetic engineering

While seemingly distant, your participation in food politics is intimately linked to your role as a consumer of food and information here in Berkeley [, California]. We cast ballots every time we shop. Our dollars spent are direct endorsements of ideologies and movements that have the capacity to influence people greatly beyond our purview.

As consumers, we have the capacity to influence international acceptance of GM technology. Our purchasing power cannot be overstated. Money spent on non-GMO-verified goods endorses campaigns that distance smallholders from empowering technologies …. Your monetary or signatory endorsement can be harmful if you don’t know exactly what you’re endorsing.

Read full, original article: Genetic modification technology benefits smallholder farms

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